I cannot fathom that summer is wrapping up. This week I’ve enjoyed a bit of rest and relaxation which has included visiting with family, lots of fun on the water, eating and reading. With beautiful views of the Trent River and gorgeous sunsets it’s a wonder that I was able to steal myself away long enough to check emails and keep up with what’s going on at work. That’s actually when I saw the email “Where’s your blog?”
As with each summer I often share a few good summer reads. I realize that the summer is wrapping up, but as the cold sets in reading indoors wrapped under a cozy blanket is almost as good as sitting outside while basking in the sun. I will wholeheartedly admit, I enjoy a good romance book. It’s a wonderful brainless way to completely relax and extricate yourself for an hour or two at a time from life. But I also enjoy reading a good popular science book. Like anyone, I love finding out the story behind discoveries that have now become familiar to us and learning about other science disciplines (even if I have no aptitude for them). Most importantly, it is what I can take from these reads to increase my ability to find interesting and easy ways to communicate science to non-scientists.
I’m more apt to read books that tie science to life where research is discussed but explained in a story of how the research can impact and even improve my life. One such read was Robert Sapolsky's A Primate's Memoir. This book is a personal account of life with a troop of baboons in the Serengeti. I mean growing up watching Jane Goodall and everything we learned from her, who wouldn’t want to read this?! Sapolsky studies the relationship between the level of stress hormones and the animal's position in the social hierarchy – something that I think we’d all be interested in! Throughout the book he provides insightful descriptions of animal behavior, doubled with reflections about local politics and the daily challenges of a New Yorker living in the bush. Sapolsky is also the author of ''Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers'' and ''The Trouble With Testosterone'' and has been said to be one of the finest natural history writers around.
Now….back to reading! I’ve recently picked up “The Gene: An Intimate History” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee. According to one book review I read, the book promises to “weave science, social history, and a personal narrative to tell a story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices...”